Hyderabad fast turning into a lab for synthetic drugs

By DECCAN CHRONICLE | Syed Omar Farooq

11 November 2022

Drug cartels employing chemistry experts to manufacture synthetic drugs in illicit labs

HYDERABAD: While cannabis remains the most commonly used illicit substance in the city, synthetic drugs appear to be perpetuating the next wave of illicit drug use, and the illegal drug market is becoming more dangerous, operating secretly and stealthily from laboratories.

The new age synthetic drugs, which are frequently Methamphetamine in liquid, powder, or crystal form, are emerging from illegal labs in Hyderabad and on the city's outskirts, posing a growing challenge for law enforcement agencies. The drug cartels are employing organic chemistry experts to create synthetic drugs from ephedrine and other chemicals. On the other hand, peddlers are evading the law by concealing synthetic or designer drugs in chip packets, eye drops, lipsticks, lip balms, chocolates, chewing gum packets, or biscuit packets, and selling synthetic or designer drugs to students outside colleges or pubs.

Illegal labs in the city are producing synthetic drugs, which are outfitted with cutting-edge research and packaging equipment from Korea and China and are overseen by professionals in organic chemistry who are involved in the manufacturing, packing, and distribution of new generation laced drugs. According to sources, there are over 43 illegal laboratories, and many of these labs play hide-and-seek with cops and drug enforcement sleuths because these labs operate clandestinely from shuttered factories and transactions are difficult to trace.

Sai Kumar, a drug addict who has also conducted research on synthetic and non-synthetic drugs, revealed that the new age drug mafia is not using traditional methods of peddling bulk drugs to avoid arrest, but rather peddling drugs in powdered or crystal form. Sai revealed that customers in pubs are being sold laced forms of synthetic drugs. A wafer pack, for example, costs Rs 12,000, he claims.

According to a senior official from the Anti-Terrorist Squad who took part in the recent seizure of synthetic drugs at Gujarat port, the drug cartel is mostly run by Africans and Pakistanis, and it is often difficult to crack the syndicate because drug dealers, suppliers, or peddlers have no idea who they are working for.

Investigators probing a recent drug bust arrested two Karnataka-based synthetic drug manufacturers via a laboratory located in an industrial area. Over 3.8 kilos of liquid synthetic narcotic substance, 53 grams of synthetic drug, LSD bots, and a sample of cocaine capsule were seized by police. A police team raided Akshaj Molecular Research Private Limited on August 10 and were surprised to learn that the accused were secretly preparing synthetic drugs, according to a senior police official. During the raid, chemicals, funnels, and other materials used in large-scale synthetic drug production, such as burning funnels, were confiscated. The accused Pulicherla Srinivas Reddy and Lenin Babu of Nalgonda district completed post-graduation in organic chemistry.

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